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Decisions to be implemented if buffer zone situation not restored says President

The United Nations has informed us that the situation in the buffer zone, in Agios Dometios, will be restored, but if not, we have taken some decisions, which will be implemented, but we will not make them public, the President of the Republic Nikos Christodoulides has said.

He was speaking on the evening of 28 November, prior to a book presentation held at the European University in Nicosia.

Referring to the new provocation incident from the Turkish side in Agios Dometios, where the Buffer Zone was violated, the President of the Republic said that this is a very serious violation.

"The United Nations has informed us that the state of affairs will be restored. If it is not restored, we have already taken some decisions that will be implemented, decisions which will not be made public. But, I repeat, the UN has informed us that the situation will be restored. This is an incident that we are neither downplaying nor underestimating and decisions have been taken, which will be implemented if the situation is not restored," he said.

Asked if the Government is concerned about the situation, President Christodoulides replied "Of course we are concerned. It is a long-standing policy of the occupying army to contest the buffer zone. Let me remind you of what happened in Strovilia, let me remind you of other incidents, over time there is this contestation. We have given the UN, they asked us for 24 hours, immediately afterward decisions were taken, which will be implemented, they will not be made public."

In response to a remark that there seems to be a pattern from the Turkish side, at a time when the Greek Cypriot side is constantly trying to resume negotiations on the Cyprus problem, the President said that "this is an enduring (Turkish) approach, without downplaying or underestimating it. I mentioned Strovilia earlier, there are many incidents that we see. However, we will do everything possible to resume the dialogue”.

"You understand that the current state of affairs, the passage of time, the creation of new fait accompli, such as the ones we are experiencing, do not help to resolve the Cyprus problem. So, from our side, it is our own country under occupation, we will do everything possible to create conditions for the resumption of talks."

Asked whether the lifting of the fait accompli is a precondition for the resumption of the dialogue, the President of the Republic said that "the lifting of the fait accompli is a precondition for the non-implementation of decisions taken by the Republic of Cyprus, as I mentioned before".

Asked whether humanitarian aid destined for Gaza would reach Cyprus, the President said that the Government had already been informed by some countries wishing to send humanitarian aid to Gaza through the Republic of Cyprus.

"Our plan concerns maritime transport, the creation of a maritime humanitarian corridor. It was something that I discussed yesterday with the Emir of Qatar, you know the role of Qatar in general in this crisis, and we are receiving requests from countries so that they can bring humanitarian aid here and from here it will be transferred to the Palestinians," he said.

Asked when this plan will be implemented, President Christodoulides said that "there ongoing development all the time regarding this issue."

On Friday 18 August, 2023, Turkish Cypriots punched and kicked a group of international peacekeepers who obstructed crews illegally working on a road that would encroach on a U.N. controlled buffer zone.  

The attack happened as peacekeepers stood in the way of work crews building a road to connect the Turkish-occupied village of Arsos with the mixed Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot village of Pyla, inside the buffer zone.  

Members of the Security Council condemned on Tuesday, 22 August, 2023, the incidents in the buffer zone, in the village of Pyla, in Larnaca district, with assaults against UN peacekeepers, reiterating their full support for UNFICYP  

They also condemned the attacks on UN peacekeepers and the damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriot personnel and wished a speedy and full recovery to the peacekeepers who were injured. They emphasized that "attacks against peacekeepers may constitute crimes under international law and reaffirmed their full commitment to the safety of all UN personnel." 

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.  

(Source: CNA)

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